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c westwood (London)

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Price: £12.32

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful find, utterly charming, 9 Sep 2006
This review is from: 5:55 (Audio CD)
I picked this up in France having heard one track on the radio, and have been listening to it repeatedly since then. It's a thoroughly fresh and surprising listen from start to finish.

Gainsbourg's voice is not a strident, confident and trained instrument, but her subtle, tender, and at times timid delivery is very engaging. She was apparently so nervous at times recording the album that she sang from beneath a sheet. She need not have worried.

The duo that form Air provide the soundtrack, while Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon provide the lyrics. All have excelled themselves: the melodies are gorgeous, at times swooping and exultant, at times minimal and delicate; the lyrics are subtle and beguiling.

From first listening it struck me that this album is one of those collaborations that rarely comes along, which is pure magic. The chemistry between the collaborators was obviously just right, and has resulted in a fine creation.


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good quality reissue bar one track, 9 Sep 2006
This review is from: Peace [DELUXE DIGIPACK] (Audio CD)
Along with the rest of the remastered back catalogue this is a really nice package with some good extras. One thing fans should be aware of, buying this to upgrade from their original CD - the version of I've Tried Everything is different, and substantially inferior, to that on the original release. No idea why ... but what a shame!

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax
The Ninth Life of Louis Drax
by Liz Jensen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not her best, 31 Aug 2005
I always look forward to Liz Jensen's next book, and devoured this in two sittings. You never know what you're going to get from her, though can always be assured that it will be told with wit, skill and empathy.
Louis Drax reads, in terms of plot, more like a Julie Myerson novel. It explores the bond between parent and child, particularly that of the mother. Like Myerson, Jensen takes this bond and twists it, adding a violence and tension.
I enjoyed Louis's own narrative from inside his Persistent Vegitative State (PVS) coma, but wouldn't have chosen that to be the first section - or not at such length - as I was so anxious that the whole novel not be written in such a hyper-stylised way. It also puzzled me as to why the novel was set in France ... aside from a closing plot device (won't reveal) it could really have been set anywhere.
It works well as a thriller - I was really gripped by it, and drawn to reach the conclusion. Dr Danachet is an engaging protagonist and narrator of the main sections, and the novel's other characters are well drawn. Louis is a charming creation, though his "wacko boy" narrative makes him harder to engage with.
In many ways the most straight-forward of her novels to date, but a success. Ark Baby and War Crimes are stand outs for me though.

by Jeffrey Eugenides
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accomplished and dazzling achievement, 31 Aug 2005
This review is from: Middlesex (Paperback)
Some novels start so well, so strongly, that you're nervous that the strength won't be maintained throughout. Right from the start here, however, you feel confident that the author (and narrator) have a firm hold on the reins, and it feels almost exhilarating.
Eugenides plays with the idea of Tiresias, with experience of both genders, to narrate the story with this ultimate and rare insight. Calliope, the main chracter and narrator, tells the story with an engaging blend of objectivity and subjectivity in the first half of the novel, which is a fresh look at the family saga. Half way through, the shift to Calliope's own story demands a subtly different narrative style, and a changing focus. - but Eugenides has prepared you for this, and though engaged in the story of the Stephanides family you're always aware that Calliope is the raison d'etre of the novel.
A fascinating subject for a novel too - dealt with in a sensitive and empathetic way - Cal is one of the most engaging narrators in literature. Besides this strand of content, the history of Greek/Turkish immigrants in the US, and the history of Detroit, are fascinating and complimentary tales to the primary subject.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars singular, lilting, expressive, emotive, 15 Aug 2005
I have to say that I could listen to Laurie Anderson reading excerpts form the phone book - she has the most singular, lilting, expressive, emotive voice. But here she weaves a web of tales, reminiscences, thoughts and musings to form a coherent whole which reveals itself slowly to you. Her recent intimate stage shows have been in the same vein and would also make for fantastic recordings.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A glorious, sensuous, alternately sad and rapturous album., 15 Aug 2005
This review is from: Maria (Audio CD)
A glorious, sensuous, alternately sad and rapturous album. Siberry's voice suits the pared-down jazz sound of this record, and the associated free-form mood of the songs.
For me, the utter piece-de-resistance is the final song, "Oh My My", a 20 minute study of coming of age (at least that's my take on it). Siberry adds to the jazz band layers of occidental instruments and a choir. It's a daring, breath-taking, exquisite track which merits 'headphones-eyesshut-darkroom' listen.

Vita - The Life of Vita Sackville-West
Vita - The Life of Vita Sackville-West
by Victoria Glendinning
Edition: Paperback

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive depiction of an extraordinary life, 15 Aug 2005
Glendinning's biography is impressive in its scope and detail, and maintains a good pace throughout in dealing with the many different facets of VS-W's extraordinary life. She and her surrounding intimates are admirably painted, giving the reader a clear sense of all the key relationships as they develop throughout her life - including those with the houses (Knole, Long Barn and Sissinghurst).
My only regret is that the book does not occasionally seek to take a long view of its subject's life, to aid understanding by picking out commmon themes or motifs, hence 4-stars. This is however a small quibble for what is a highly entertaining and well-written biography.

The Roald Dahl Treasury
The Roald Dahl Treasury
by Roald Dahl
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully produced volume of timeless stories, 1 Feb 2005
I bought this for my 4.5 -year-old niece at Christmas, something for her to grow into, and her Mum to read to her from. She has been wrapped up in it ever since. The thematic sections work wonderfully, the stories are in sensible sized sections for bedtime reading, and Quentin Blake's drawings are as appealing as ever to little people. A great price too for a chunky, glossy volume of writing which will stand years of frequent reading.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2011 8:59 PM BST

"Siouxsie and the Banshees": The Authorised Biography
"Siouxsie and the Banshees": The Authorised Biography
by Mark Paytress
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and entertaining story of this great band, 1 Feb 2005
A big fan of the Banshees but a latecomer to their music (first heard around '93) I picked this up to catch up on the back story. Though i was initially disappointed to find that the book is compiled of cut up interviews with the band members and other interested parties, it soon became apparent that this was the best way to tell this story: the voices of the interviewees came through strongly, and were very entratining. The interviews themselves were in depth, well executed, and edited in such a way as to keep the momentum of the story going.
Thoroughly recommended as a great read for either Banshees fans or those interested in the history of rock music.

Hymns Of The 49th Parallel
Hymns Of The 49th Parallel
Price: £12.77

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Songs for a lazy (and cold Canadian) day, 9 Nov 2004
A beautiful, textured, life-soundtrack of an album. Interesting that she has moved within the Warner stable to a more, grown-up/arty label. k.d.'s voice is in fine form, and offers up simple but perfectly formed interpretations of some great songs - and it's good to have a covers album that has a theme that's strong enough to give interest, but loose enough to allow the singer freedom to move.
I do think that with the better known writers, it might have benefitted from some less obvious selections - with Leonard Cohen, for example, Bird on a Wire and Hallelujah are endlessly covered, where many of his great songs are neglected. Mitchell's Jericho is a perfect example of k.d. taking a lesser known song of great quality from an artist of stature, and making it her own.

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